Blacky the Crow by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XIX: Blacky Makes More Discoveries
Little things you fail to see May important prove to be. - Blacky the Crow.
One of the secrets of Blacky's success in life is the fact that he never fails to take note of little things. Long ago he learned that little things which in themselves seem harmless and not worth noticing may together prove the most important things in life. So, no matter how unimportant a thing may appear, Blacky examines it closely with those sharp eyes of his and remembers it.
The very first thing Blacky did, as soon as he was awake the morning after he discovered the man scattering corn in the rushes at a certain place on the edge of the Big River, was to fly over to the pond of Paddy the Beaver and again warn Mr. and Mrs. Quack to keep away from the Big River, if they and their six children would remain safe. Then he got some breakfast. He ate it in a hurry and flew straight over to the Big River to the place where he had seen that yellow corn scattered.
Blacky wasn't wholly surprised to find Dusky the Black Duck, own cousin to Mr. and Mrs. Quack the Mallard Ducks, with a number of his relatives in among the rushes and wild rice at the very place where that corn had been scattered. They seemed quite contented and in the best of spirits. Blacky guessed why. Not a single grain of that yellow corn could Blacky see. He knew the ways of Dusky and his relatives. He knew that they must have come in there just at dusk the night before and at once had found that corn. He knew that they would remain hiding there until frightened out, and that then they would spend the day in some little pond where they would not be likely to be disturbed or where at least no danger could approach them without being seen in plenty of time. There they would rest all day, and when the Black Shadows came creeping out from the Purple Hills, they would return to that place on the Big River to feed, for that is the time when they like best to hunt for their food.
Dusky looked up as Blacky flew over him, but Blacky said nothing, and Dusky said nothing. But if Blacky didn't use his tongue, he did use his eyes. He saw just on the edge of the shore what looked like a lot of small bushes growing close together on the very edge of the water. Mixed in with them were a lot of the brown rushes. They looked very harmless and innocent. But Blacky knew every foot of that shore along the Big River, and he knew that those bushes hadn't been there during the summer. He knew that they hadn't grown there.
He flew directly over them. Just back of them were a couple of logs. Those logs hadn't been there when he passed that way a few days before. He was sure of it.
"Ha!" exclaimed Blacky under his breath. "Those look to me as if they might be very handy, very handy indeed, for a hunter to sit on. Sitting there behind those bushes, he would be hidden from any Duck who might come in to look for nice yellow corn scattered out there among the rushes. It doesn't look right to me. No, Sir, it doesn't look right to me. I think I'll keep an eye on this place."
So Blacky came back to the Big River several times that day. The second time back he found that Dusky the Black Duck and his relatives had left. When he returned in the afternoon, he saw the same man he had seen there the afternoon before, and he was doing the same thing, -- scattering yellow corn out in the rushes. And as before, he went away in a boat.
"I don't like it," muttered Blacky, shaking his black head. "I don't like it."